1. Those who have written either in support of or against a planning application which is to be considered by Planning Committee, will have the opportunity to speak on that application, subject to the following criteria:-
a. Applicant/Agent/those in favour of approval–
for applications recommended for approval, the ability to speak will only be granted if there is a member of the public speaking in favour of refusal (to ensure a balance of views is put to the Committee) (Applicants/agents will take priority in this instance).
For applications recommended for refusal, only the applicant or their agent will be permitted to speak in favour of approval.
b. Objector (only if they are a resident of Thanet); for applications recommended for refusal, the ability to speak will only be granted if there is a member of the public speaking in favour of approval (to ensure a balance of views is put to the Committee)
c. Town Council/Parish Council representatives
(TDC Planning Committee Members will not be permitted to take this slot); and
d. Ward Councillors– Council Procedure Rule 20(1).
Public speaking will be limited as follows:-
a. Only one slot is available for those in favour, for those against and the Parish/Town Council representative. Speaking slots are offered on a first come, first served basis.
b. Those who have missed the opportunity to speak will be given the details of their Ward Councillor(s). The Committee Clerk will forward the contact details of members of the public who are speaking on applications to the relevant Ward Councillor(s) for their information/assistance.
The Ward Councillor(s) can either direct those who were unsuccessful to the appointed speaker to enable affected persons to make a co-ordinated response or the Councillor can choose to appear before the Committee themselves under Council Procedure Rule 20(1).
Members of the public will be informed that their contact details may be given out if more than one person wishes to speak. It will then be their decision if they wish to proceed.
c. If the applicant/agent wishes to speak, he or she will be given preference over other speakers in favour of approval.
d. If an application is recommended for approval there will be no speakers in favour unless there is a speaker against the application (to ensure a balance of views is put to the Committee).
e. If an application is recommended for refusal there will be no speakers against unless there is a speaker in favour of the application (to ensure a balance of views is put to the Committee).
f. Where a site inspection is recommended by the officers, no public speaking will take place until the following Planning Committee where the final decision will be made.
g. If Members decide to overturn an officers recommendation of a site visit, the application will be deferred and brought back to the next Committee to enable public speaking to take place.
h. If a site inspection is approved by Members after public speaking has taken place (contrary to officer’s recommendation), no public speaking will be permitted at the following Committee where the final decision will be made. (members of the public will still have the opportunity to make verbal representations at the site inspection).
i. In the case of the submission of petitions, the right to speak will only be granted if it is clear that there is a head petitioner. Usually this will require the submission of an accompanying letter so there is clearly an individual to contact to offer the opportunity of public speaking to.
j. No statement will exceed three minutes, at the conclusion of their statement the speaker shall return to the public gallery immediately. Speakers will not be permitted to table any information or present photographs during the course of the meeting (they will be advised of how to send additional information to Members of the Committee before the meeting is held).
k. Members may not ask questions of, or enter into debate with the speaker during the course of the meeting (members of the public will receive an advice note to ensure that they are aware of how best to use their time and how to ensure Members have a clear picture of the situation).
l. A member of the public will be given priority to speak on one application only. Should they wish to speak on more than one application they will be placed on a reserve list until such time as the deadline for requests has passed. Provided no other members of the public have indicated a wish to speak they may take the slot.
m. Speakers will not be permitted to ask questions of or criticise Members or officers of the Council whilst making their speech (the advice leaflet will contain a reference to the laws of slander to ensure speakers are aware that they must not make inappropriate statements about any particular individual).